Likely needing two wins from their final two games to keep their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League alive, this is not the kind of news Arsenal wanted.
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The Gunners host already-relegated Sunderland on Tuesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and Arsene Wenger has revealed Arsenal’s Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez is a doubt with a thigh injury.
Sanchez, 28, has been in fine form, scoring twice and adding an assist in his last two PL outings to give Arsenal a fighting chance of sealing an unlikely top four finish.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s game, Wenger revealed that Sanchez is struggling and will have a fitness test on Monday.
“Alexis Sanchez will have a test today,” Wenger said. “Yesterday it didn’t look too good, but with him you never know. He’s so keen. Maybe it was just a kick. It could be a possibility that he recovers for tomorrow.”
With Arsenal winning five of their last six games in the PL, they’re pushing Liverpool and Manchester City hard in the race for the final two UCL places.
Arsenal have Sunderland and Everton at home in their final two games and they’ll likely have to win both to snatch a top four finish for the 21st consecutive season under Wenger. Surely Wenger will have enough firepower in Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott if Sanchez doesn’t make it for Tuesday and Arsenal should instead plan on having their star man fit for the potentially pivotal final game of the season against Everton.
How tight is the top four race?
The Gunners sit three points behind fourth-placed Man City (they have West Brom at home and Watford away remaining) and four points behind third-placed Liverpool who have just one game left and finish their season with a home game against already-relegated Middlesbrough.
Simply put, Arsenal need to pick up two more wins and hope either Liverpool or City slip up. And their chances of winning out are much better with Sanchez leading their attack.